The show of strength to the student community seemed unstoppable. After accepting the demands of the David College of Engineering and Technology students – as mentioned in the previous column – it is the turn of the young people who study at another institute to show their abilities. On January 17, 1972, students of the College of Commerce and Islamic Arts in Sindh cordoned off their principal’s residence in Jinnah court to lobby for their demands – which included exemption from December fees (as the college remained closed due to the war) and use of union funds by students themselves. And they started chanting slogans outside his house. After that, the delegate met with the Director (Professor AS Kohati) to discuss their problems. Professor Dawn told him that he would present his December tuition waiver demands to the governing body because the principal did not have the powers to decide on such issues on his own.
The next day, January 18, two groups of SM Arts and Commerce College and SM Science College students clashed for more than two hours throwing stones at each other. The main reason for the fight was that those from the arts department walked out of their classes and marched to the science department to urge the boys there to boycott the classes to join them in their protest. Science students resented what they described as a “breach of contract” between art students and the college administration. Arguments ended in freedom for all.
In a somewhat similar vein, the East Pakistan Students’ Union on January 19 protested the decision of the University of Karachi to charge all fees except tuition fees at the time of admission of destitute East Pakistani students. In a decision taken at a meeting, they appealed to the university authorities to exempt them from all fees because they were unable to pay any amount.
On the city’s administrative front, the authorities were still trying to figure out who should do what. On January 17, it was reported that the Sindh and Balochistan High Court bench had heard arguments regarding a petition challenging the right of the Karachi Development Authority (KDA) to levy water tax in North Nazimabad. The dispute arose after four petitions lodged by the residents of North Nizamabad. Speaking on this point, the petitioners’ attorney ZH Larry said that only Karachi Municipal Corporation (KMC) had provided water charges in the district since it was their jurisdiction. The court was scheduled to hear the defense attorney in a few days.
What was the company intending at the time? On January 22, it was announced that KMC will conduct a public review of its maintenance and capital work program in light of general government advice given to various departments and agencies to reduce their non-development expenditures by up to 30 percent. Apart from exercising maximum economy on routine expenses such as purchasing office supplies, furniture, entertainment, travel etc., KMC has been identifying works that can be deferred until next year.
Posted in Dawn, January 17, 2022